Regular readers may be concerned by the title. Don’t worry, this is not a self-congratulatory piece on the infinite wisdom of the usual suspect behind these match reports. Mr. Roche was unavailable this Saturday (one assumes it will be for a good reason that is not included in any prior match report as “unacceptable”) so it has fallen to a member of the team to detail the frustrating events of Saturday 16th October, 2021.
My day started badly. Mr. Roche phoned me. I missed it. He didn’t make the available easy gag. When a connection was finally made, I was succinctly reminded of my lack of ability to score and that we (i.e. the team) should “not get unlucky.” Wise words indeed, hard to know how he does it.
It was a big day, and one that drew significant excitement from the lads. Games against the University 2s are almost always a fun affair that is played in a good spirit. Not that that excitement had passed onto Lewis. Seemingly determined to put as little effort into the day as possible, he requested a lift to the pitch. A lift that was allegedly required to replace the shortest walk (as the crow flies) that any of us undertook.
The University 2s are an interesting team. In the past, they have been known as the BetterBlokesTM, Up a Level, the Occasionals, and the best showerers in the south of England. Never knowingly on time for a meet or more than 5m from a box, they represent an important niche between academic pursuit and inadvisable but insular sociability. However, much of this has been knocked down by recent global events. It is entirely possible (read. almost certain) that the Hawks 2s had played more Os league matches than the Os squad combined. In fact, Hawks were probably leading on Os caps by a hundred.
So what do we have here? A university team with very little match experience, only a single week since their annual trials, lacking players and also late. The Hawks team were on a bit of a roll with 3 wins in 3, had insider knowledge and enough Brookes students to match the Uni for their legs. What could go wrong?
Given you probably eyeballed the score on your way down, you will have worked out that something was did go wrong.
Let's speed through this to ease the pain. The coach became the dictionary example of the Freudian slip. Raoul P dropped sweets. The warm up was at least 10 minutes too long. Henry lost the toss. Raoul P failed a food safety inspection. Knoxy reminded everyone to play by the rules exactly two too many times. Our captain vented his frustrations in the most unfortunate of directions.
There were more, but I’m leaving it there. There is also a better story to tell, but I’m not sure it reads well on the club website. I’ll leave it to word of mouth and the will to support any victory for students over the suburban elite.
The afore-not-mentioned tale left me, as an ex-OUHC hockey player, in a sad position. I am in the inescapable position of describing Brookes as the best performers on the day. A number of current Brookes players are in our ranks these days as part of an academic offset scheme to account for allowing Henry to wear the armband. Their hockey was okay on Saturday, just over half of them showered afterwards, and most turned up to teas and then onto the public houses of south and central Oxford with the lads. And yet that was a thoroughly better performance than the Os, a team which once prided itself on everything but the hockey. A formal inquest may well be launched into the no showers and no teas combination put on by them. It wasn’t all bad because the teas that they paid for (but didn’t eat) were fantastic.
Oxford University 2s 1-1 Oxford Hawks 2s (Hawks win on performance pre- and post-match)
PoM: Greenbank (just)
DoD: Taylor (losing the toss, the 18 minute warm up, not going to the pub with the lads, and shouting obscenities about a perfectly innocent u18 within earshot of their next of kin)
Team: David Jones (GK), Raoul Patel, Charlie Hill, Ollie Shorthose, Lewis Jowett, Matt Knox, Billy Bishop, Henry Taylor, Matteo Bignone, Sam Greenbank, Tom Barrett, Tom Bohmer, Benji Powe, Thom Sobey, Louis Wright, Felix Morrison